Shipston began their new league campaign on Saturday, welcoming Ledbury to Mayo Road for the first round of action in Midlands 3 West (South). After a couple of good seasons floating around the top 3 or 4 in the division, the Rams are looking to make the push for promotion this season and they got off to a promising start with a well rounded and accomplished performance against good opposition in Ledbury.
The Rams started very quickly and built up a 19-0 lead within the first twenty minutes, playing some expansive rugby and utilising the strength and pace in their back line. The set piece was fairly evenly matched, with both sides getting the better of the other at different points in the half, but Shipston's ball retention and skill set proved the difference in the first period.
The second half began in much the same fashion as the first, with the hosts having the lion share of possession and territory and they continued to build on their lead and push their score towards the half century mark. The Rams weren't to have it all their own way though and Ledbury managed to score 3 tries of their own in the second half. Their first 2 scores came about from some lacklustre defensive efforts from Shipston, but the third try was well executed, the winger picking up his hat trick after retrieving a precision cross-field kick!
It would be the Rams that would finish on top however, scoring 8 tries in total and ending the game with the scores at 52-17. There was a hat-trick of tries for Robbie Faulkner, two apiece for Matt Daniells and Alex Hammond and one for Will Seys, rounding off a fine afternoon for the Rams.
There were strong performances all over the field, with notable contributions from the likes of Faulkner, Scott Brandreth and the second row pairing of Leo Brice and Will Cowper. The MOTM this week though was awarded to Alex Hammond, who worked tirelessly from number 8, carrying the ball strongly on a number of occasions and standing firm in defence all afternoon.
Shipston travel to Manor Park next Saturday with kick off at 3pm